Up All Night

I screwed up again…

The 3pm energy drain hit me and I did it.

I had that one last afternoon cup of coffee.

Now it’s 1:30am. And despite the fact that both of my little angels (we’ll call them that now that they’re passed out) in their own beds, in their own room, and Michael is at work.

I could be downing a bottle of wine and watching Call the Midwife reruns. Or finishing The Sandman graphic novel I started earlier. I could be getting a couple hours of blissfully uninterrupted sleep. But no…I’m doing the fucking dishes.

“Why in earth would a woman choose to do dishes at 1am?” you might be asking yourself. The smart ass in me would say “cause the maid doesn’t come until Thursday”. And the realist in me says “cause I AM the maid”.

I also just switched over the laundry and set the diaper covers out to dry.

And now I’m wide awake…

My home isn’t spotless. In fact I’m fairly certain there’s thin (or thick depending on where you’re sitting) layer of white dog hair coating every floor of the house. It’s quite soft on the feet. Not so kind to my black wardrobe pieces.

And I don’t expect it to be. Having two small children has made me set my expectation levels incredibly low. And yet still I am surprised by how unexpected everything goes in our life. Life with small humans requires a lot of planning and preparation, both of which I struggle with.

The simple fact is that things can’t run smoothly in the mornings unless the kitchen is clean. Even my bare bones morning schedulencan be easily derailed. Everything takes longer if you have to wash a pan just to make some eggs, or shuffle things around to get to the butter dish. And god forbid there’s no sippy cups clean for her majesty Cedella’s morning juice.

And diapers? Well…we kinda need those. All day, every day. And they have to be washed before the stench takes over the girls room. We’ve got them both sleeping in there now…can’t ruin it with dirty diaper pail stink.

Did I mention both girls are sleeping in their own beds? All. Night. Long.

Yea, I may have postponed doing the dishes until 1am. And I’ll probably be tired tomorrow because I’m up so late. But today, I got an adjustment, ran into good mama friends and their kiddos, thrift shopped, hung outside with my big girl, finished a book and enjoyed a home-cooked family dinner.

I gotta say. Today was a good day.

Though could someone please remind me to stop drinking coffee at 2pm from now on. Yep. Feeling old.

But most importantly…

The dishes are done, man. ::wink wink::

Am I the only one that finds herself doing housework at odd hours of the day and night?

Guess who just climbed into my bed as I finished typing this? And no, it’s not the one in the crib.

Goodnight.

How I Stay Sane: a SAHM Guide

Part of the constant struggle of being a SAHM for me is staying busy. Not that I can’t always find a cobweb that needs sweeping or a dish that needs washing or a sippy cup full of spoiled milk that needs tossing, cause I can.

When Cedella was born and I was all alone with her all day I can remember how much I felt the urge to clean everything, always, non-stop. Then when I was IM’ing with friends a week or so ago (Hi Ashley and Nicole!!) I was reminded that in those days, keeping my child alive, fed and clean was priority one. Keeping the house clean was two. Keeping my husband fed and clean was three. And me? Well…I was probably around number 1001 on the list of priorities.

Over the past three years I have really expanded my social circle in Lansing and am so incredibly happy to say that I have real friends here. Friends to go to movies and awesome new restaurants with, that don’t mind if we talk about kids and husbands all night. Friends that are just as nutty and obsessed with baby carriers as I am. Friends that don’t look at me funny when I’d rather give my girls garlic, lemon and honey than antibiotics when they’re sick. And friends that I can trust the birthing of my babies and my kids lives forever after with.

It’s not easy this whole motherhood thing. But knowing that I have these woman, well that helps so much more than I ever imagined it would.

So with this incredible social circle I am able to keep sane on any given week.

What are my other secrets?

Secret #1: Getting out of the house!!!

It sounds simple. But anyone that has a 3 year old will tell you that getting them dressed and out of the door is a feat in and of itself. But add a second small creature (and their belongings) into the mix? Well you might as well be packing for a trek to the moon. So leaving the house with two may be intimidating and even sound counterproductive. But just the act of getting everyone into the car and heading out for an adventure is enough to clear any bad moods and put smiles and giggles back into the day. Fresh air and some fresh tunes on the stereo = happy family.

Secret#2: Get Involved in Local Groups

I go to about 4 or 5 meetings/playgroups a month. Once a week at least. Counting it up that way seems like a lot, but it’s so worth it. Not only did getting involved in a local mom’s Meetup group help me to meet one of my closest friends, Leslie, it brought Cedella her BFF Anna. So thankful that for the small time I participated in the group I was able to meet Leslie (she gets bloggy with it at Pretending to be a Grownup, go visit her so she’ll write some more :)), and from there Katie. And being involved in both the local LansingBabywearers and Delta-Waverly La Leche League has allowed me to meet and befriend so many awesome mamas like Gwen, Cindy, Kristy, Meghan, Jessie, Zaje, Mia and the aforementioned Nicole and Ashley.  Not to mention our amazing birth center (which sadly closed in October) which brought me so many more life-long friends like Annie, Heather, Molly, Clarice and Audra. Finding all these outstanding ladies to connect with has been a life-saver. Knowing that there’s always someone to vent to or get suggestions from keeps me from feeling like my children are conspiring to kill me. Thanks ladies 😉

Secret#3: Getting dressed

Now I love my yoga pants as much as everyone else, don’t get me wrong. I can be found in them pretty constantly when I’m in the house. But I do not wear them in public. Unless I’m literally going to a yoga class. When I leave the house I get dressed like I would have when I had a job. Granted I wear more jeans than I would have to work, but jeans wash anyway sticky kid handprints better than dress pants. And I wear makeup. Full face, definitely mascara, sometimes lipstick (but usually chapstick). Every time. It makes me feel like a whole person and not only somebody’s Mommy. Though it may be hard to find clothes to accommodate both my mama body and my fashion sense (see RANT here) it’s worth it to find fun clothes that make you feel good about your self. Yes, it has meant buying a bigger size than before I was pregnant. But it’s worth every penny to feel cool and confident and ::gasp:: sexy again. Also, by getting yourself in order you project the image that you are organized and have things all together. That leads me to…

Secret #4: Let the House be Messy

Being all put together and fashionable in public no one will ever know or even care that your house is a total disaster. Because if you can put on mascara before a playdate who cares if your sink is full of dirty dishes, right? But seriously this is one of the biggest things I’ve had to let go over the past 3ish years. Since becoming a SAHM there is such a battle over what my actual role and job is. Am I Chief Child Care Provider only? Or Nanny with a splash of Housekeeper? Some days I feel like I’m an all-out indentured servant. But it’s ok, because after nearly a year of caring for a small child and trying to keep my house immaculate I gave up. Toys are always on the floor, there’s always a laundry mountain in the corner of a bedroom and there are dishes in the sink. And you know what else? My children are clean and smart and loving. They have oodles of time to play and learn and laugh with their mama. And that is really more important than spotless floors, no?

Secret #5: Invite Someone Over

But whenever you’re feeling like the entire cluttered mess is getting out of control and you just can’t take it anymore…invite some friends over to play, or better yet, for dinner. Cause then you have to clean the house. And usually you only have like two hours to do it. I get more done in that way than I ever do when I have a full day with nothing on the schedule. And usually it stays that way for days after. I hit every single room (except our bedroom) and the whole house is wonderful for at least a week. I’m seriously considering weekly dinner parties…

Secret #6: Stop doing things that you’re not getting help with.

Or perhaps my most important tip for household woes. When my husband stopped putting his dirty clothes in the hamper (cause I’m not his mama and refuse to pick his dirty drawls up off the floor two feet away from said hamper) I stopped doing his laundry. One day he had no clean underwear. He was a little pissed. I was more pissed. For the most part he’s pretty good about getting the things in the hamper now. And doing dishes. And every once in a while he surprises me by taking the garbage out before I’ve removed it from the bin and propped it up against the back door. It’s the little things…

Secret #7:  Alone Time/Mom’s Night Out

And my above all gotta-make-time-for-it secret is to get out of the house with only other ladies in tow and have some fun!! It could be dinner and a movie or dinner and drinks or just dinner. Huh. Apparently my girl’s night outs always have something to do with food. Or drinks. Well, let’s be honest, that’s a great place to start. Whatever you do make it a regular thing. I still go to the book club at my old library, driving over an hour in various weather conditions once a month to see my amazing book-loving friends. Not just because I can’t find another book club but because it’s my thing, my regular monthly night to talk to other adults. It is like air to me at this point. Plan these things in advance and just do them. If someone asks you to go do something without your children for heaven’s sake just. say. yes. And at the end of the night, when you’ve had a great time, schedule the next one!

Hope that some of this Mama wisdom is helpful to you. As always take it with a grain of salt and use whatever works for your family. But please, remember, your family only runs well if it’s engine, it’s brain, it’s soul, it’s Mother, is doing well. Take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place. We as mothers and women need to start treating ourselves with respect and loving ourselves. Cause we really do make the world go round.

Love to each and every one of you who reads this.

Photo from one a Ladie’s Night Out last summer. These ladies. They help me stay sane by getting a little crazy. If you know what I mean 😉

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been A While…

Hey there! And happy new year! It’s been a long long long time since I’ve posted.

But as I sit here in our home, with all the Christmas decorations finally down, having missed the Downton Abbey premiere because of two children that just didn’t want to go to bed, finally getting around to writing a post I am almost totally unable to think of one thing to write. Because I have a million things I want to write.

In no particular order here are a few things I have on my mind:

Christmas is finally over. The boxes have all been packed and a snug away in the garage until next year. Can’t say that I’ve ever been happy to have it over with either. We started celebrating the day before Christmas Eve and went for six days straight. By the end of it we were all exhausted, crabby, sleep deprived and ill. After six Christmas parties and a birthday party that week I have over 1000 pictures (that’s including our Thanksgiving road trip which I still haven’t posted). I need to edit them and put together a recap post, but it’s a daunting task. And honestly, I don’t even know if I want to see them all again so soon either. Maybe I will conquer that by the end of the week. Maybe I’ll just throw together a few collages. What do you think? Still interested in seeing pictures of Christmas, or ready to forget all about it?

Cedella is turning 3 a week from Monday. 3!!!! WHAT?! So not only do I have a bday party on Saturday to prepare for but I have a letter to write to her and a whole “This is Cedella at 3” blog post to write. There’s so much to say about her. So much that’s new. So much that’s old. And I want to capture it all, all of her, but I can barely get her to stand still, let alone look at the camera so it will have to be very wordy. There are so many crazy silly and unique things about her. Things that I want her to be able to be reminded of when she grows up. Things I want to remember that if I don’t write then down will slip into the ever increasing cracks in my Mom Brain. And then there will have to be a birthday party recap and more pictures to edit.

Isora is growing by leaps and bounds. She started pulling herself up around Thanksgiving, started scooting around the furniture shortly thereafter and now she’s standing alone and is just moments from walking. She says sweet little words like ‘duck’ and her favorite thing to say ‘dada’. She has changed so much in the past month alone that I feel utterly neglectful for not having recorded more about her each month. It really is going by so incredibly fast. But I vow to do a proper update on the 18th. I’m scheduling it now. If you get an empty email that morning you’ll know I’ve forgotten all about it…

Now that it’s really a new year and I’ve gotten motivated to start reorganizing and cleaning it has occurred to me that we have had no schedule or preschool since Thanksgiving. The girls are staying up way past ten at this point and waking up by 8am. In short, they aren’t getting enough sleep. Time to get back into a normal schedule. Dinner before 7. Bath and bed by 8. School on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Housekeeping on Tuesday and Thursday.

Of course, throw in a week like this one, that included a day spent entirely in a hospital waiting room, and two drives to Detroit and back, and how could anyone keep a schedule?

Well at least, we kept one of our scheduled events this week. Because we’ve found a class that Cedella actually loves. Gymnastics!! She’s a natural :)

And yes by all means, it’s the beginning of the year and therefore it’s Resolution Season. But I learned from last year’s resolutions that it is lovely to have goals, but having two small children pretty much means that goals should be simple. Like “I resolve to shower more often”. Or “I resolve to not yell at my kids until after I’ve had coffee”. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t set goals that may not be accomplished this year, or ever for that matter.

So for that reason I’m joining up with Alicia at Clever Compass for a new kind of resolution. A Life List. All week long myself and other bloggers are sharing a list of things we want to do during our lifetimes. Travel. Learn. Try. Do. All of it.

And while I can’t wait to read all the other lists out there I really can’t wait to share mine, if only because it is so incredibly liberating and exciting to think about and write about all the things I want to do with my life. So stayed tuned…

And just because I couldn’t let you go without a pic or two. Here’s my future Olympian and her BFF Anna in full training mode…

And just getting a hang of things…